No reunion with Ronny

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11/03/2010 15:40, Report by Ian McLeish

Reality bites for Ronaldo

There can’t be a single United fan who, on hearing of Real Madrid’s exit last night, didn¹t pause to think about Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to the Reds' 7-2 aggregate thrashing of AC Milan.

He must have cut a fairly disconsolate figure in the dressing room as Real got to grips with their sixth consecutive exit at the first knockout stage of Europe’s most glamorous competition, and it would have taken a brave Madridista to lean over and say, “By the way, your old boys did alright tonight.”

The grass clearly isn’t always greener on the other side, it seems. Meanwhile, the Reds go marching on as a third consecutive final edges closer. And remind me, where is that final again? Ah yes. Seven years ago, our dreams of playing in a Champions League final at our own ground were shattered by an awesome Real Madrid side inspired by the Brazilian Ronaldo.

This year, will the Portuguese version be in the stands as United take to the Bernabeu turf to contest the biggest prize of all? It would be nice to think so. Who knows, he may even be sat next to another former no.7 who’s played in both Madrid and Manchester. And if the campaign continues in similar vein, the World and European player of the year awards could well be returning to OT.

I don’t really need to add to the tributes currently being lavished on Wayne Rooney, but suffice to say, from my spot in the East Stand last night (enjoying the view the away fans usually have at OT), it was pretty clear we were in the company of the greatest footballer in the world right now.

Can Rooney really match Ronaldo’s 42-goal haul from two seasons ago, the challenge seemingly laid down by Sir Alex? He needs 12 goals from a potential 14 matches. On current form, don’t bet against it.

This is a big if, but if Wayne matches or even surpasses that total one Saturday night in Madrid in May, we’re pretty sure his old team-mate Ronny will be the first to applaud. And maybe pause to imagine what might have been. (I really need to get these daydreams under control, I’m a grown man.)


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